IHSA may release sports schedule Jan. 27

Lincoln-Way East’s AJ Henning holds the IHSA 8A State Championship trophy after the Griffins defeat Warren 12-0, DeKalb, Illinois, November 30, 2019.

Lincoln-Way East’s AJ Henning holds the IHSA 8A State Championship trophy after the Griffins defeat Warren 12-0, DeKalb, Illinois, November 30, 2019. | Allen Cunningham/For the Sun-Times

The Illinois High School Association’s regularly scheduled January board meeting on Wednesday did not provide any new hope that high school sports will restart during this school year.

The Illinois High School Association’s regularly scheduled January board meeting on Wednesday did not provide any new hope that high school sports will restart during this school year.

The board also did not reveal a new schedule for starting up if and when Gov. J.B. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health allows sports to restart.

According to a source, the IHSA board “did not think it was prudent to set the schedule for the remainder of the year, although they realize time is drawing short. They hope to do so on January 27.”

The last sports schedule the IHSA announced had its winter season, which features basketball, ending on Feb. 13 and the spring season, which contains football, starting Feb. 15.

The IHSA board did approve the resumption of contact days in all sports that are not in season as soon as IDPH allows. According to a source that could mean that the state allows winter sports to start practices and fall/spring/summer sports to begin conducting contact days. Or it could mean that the state rolls back mitigations, but not enough to begin any winter sports, at which point all IHSA sports could be eligible to conduct contact days.

IHSA leaders held a long-awaited meeting with Deputy Gov. Jesse Ruiz and Illinois Department of Public Health director Dr. Ngozi Ezike on Jan. 7 via Zoom. The IHSA asked the IDPH to ‘‘review the risk levels of all remaining sports, with consideration for lowering some sports from their current risk levels.’’

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According to a source, the IHSA reps were told in that meeting that if any of Illinois’ regions move to Tier 2 COVID-19 mitigations that some practices would be allowed, including volleyball. Basketball is classified as a high-risk sport, so no practices would be allowed even if regions move down to Tier 2.

Regions need to have less than 12% test positivity for three consecutive days and have more than 20% of intensive-care-unit and hospital beds available to move to Tier 2. COVID-19 hospitalizations also must have declined in seven of the last 10 days.

‘‘We appreciate the dialogue with state leadership and believe it is crucial that it continue moving forward,’’ Anderson said on Jan. 7. ‘‘We understand that the state faces shifting priorities as it continues to fight the pandemic, while also beginning the distribution of the vaccine. There was no expectation that a single meeting would resolve all our questions. However, we believe that collaboration with state officials is vital for the IHSA to be able to develop an informed plan for the 300,000-plus student-athletes and over 800 high schools that encompass the association.’’

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Source:: Chicago Sun Times

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